On a recent webinar, Chris Patton, Vice President of SHOP Sales and Agent Management for Covered California, reported that over 15,000 insurance agents have registered to become certified to sell both individual and small group health plans through the California health insurance exchange. Of those thousands of agents, less than 1700 had completed the necessary training for certification only days before the start of open enrollment. In addition, no agents will actually be certified as of the launch on October 1st because agent agreement has not been released.
Industry News Archive
The misguided training was a missed opportunity to explain the importance of Covered California and how the ACA will help millions of people get access to affordable health insurance and quality care. Instead we were told that health plans were expecting lots of sick people to seek care and they were cutting back on their providers. You know, “those people” were going to use the system they had been shut of for years by insurance companies who were just “following the rules” of being able to deny sick people health insurance. It wasn’t the fault of the insurance company, one trainer opined.
Anthem Blue Cross California has released information regarding the coverage of medically necessary procedures to treat gender identity disorder, commonly referred to as a person being transgender. Effective immediately, all new and grandfathered plans will cover surgeries, hormone therapy and counseling associated with transitioning from the birth sex to the sex the individual identifies with.
Anthem Blue Cross announced that it will issue rebates to members enrolled in their Medicare Supplement plans in five different states. The rebates are a result of the Medicare supplement or Medigap plans failing to meet the medical loss ratios (MLR). Rebate checks being sent out in September will range from $3.51 to $487.08 per member.
The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) have signed on to lend their support of a website that seeks to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The website, The Affordable Coverage Project, is calling for the repeal of the health insurance taxes that made Obamacare originally revenue neutral and finances the tax credits that will make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that his office, along with other states, have reached an agreement with ING over the misuse of the Death Master File. This follows after similar agreements were reached with other carriers earlier this year. ING has agreed to pay $10.7 million to insurance regulators.
Health insurance company Blue Shield of California announced that they will be sending rebate checks for certain health insurance plans that didn’t meet the Medical Loss Ratio in 2012. Some large and small employer groups along with individual and family plan members will receive rebates equivalent to .2% up to 3.4% of their 2012 premiums.
While some industry analysts point a finger at new guarantee issue rules for individual plans as a reason UHC and Aetna are vacating California, both are still retaining their lines of employer group business which IS ALL GUARANTEE ISSUE. It is rather disheartening that UHC and Aetna have taken such a cynical profit driven approach to the individual market in California and in other states.
One of the spillover effects from the Affordable Care Act is that the insurance companies are streamlining not only their health insurance plans but their ancillary insurance products like dental and vision. Anthem Blue Cross has just released new dental and vision plans that are straight forward and easy to understand.
While the filed rate increases of Anthem Blue Cross may be unreasonable that hardly justifies their being banned from the Covered California small employer group program. There is also the prospect that Anthem Blue Cross might be forecasting a sharp drop in membership of their small group plans as small businesses abandon the plans or employees leave to purchase subsidized health insurance through Covered California.